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(above: actual patient picture)

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Montgomery Glands and Why They’re There

Have you ever noticed the small bumps on your areola and wondered what they are, or what purpose they serve? 

These bumps are called areolar glands, also known as Montgomery glands or tubercles.  A tubercle is an anatomical term referring to a round nodule or small prominence. These glands are named after the Irish obstetrician, Dr. William Montgomery (1797-1859) who is credited for first describing the glands.  His papers and studies focused on the breast, especially in regards to changes to the areola and the nipple during pregnancy. 

Most women have between 5 and 20 Montgomery glands on each areola. They are located just beneath the skin surface.  Most of the glands will be seen in the upper, outer portion of the areola, which is the direction your baby’s nose is typically facing while breastfeeding.  Many of these areolar glands are unseen, but hormonal triggers, such as pregnancy, can enlarge them and make them more noticeable. 

(actual patient photo)

Montgomery glands are sebaceous glands; glands that produce an oily secretion which helps keep the nipple moisturized and protected from drying and cracking while nursing.   The oily secretion contains antimicrobial factors preventing infection.  Interestingly, the glands and the smell of their secretions may have a role in helping your baby locate your nipple.  A baby’s sense of smell could be involved in helping her find your breast and target the nipple.

As you go through pregnancy, you may or may not notice these bumps, but they play such an important role in helping to feed your baby. Hopefully, the information we have provided will help you feel more comfortable with these bumps.   

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your breasts, contact us, Dr. Broadway and Dr. Cisco, your Denver-area top plastic surgeons. Schedule your consultation by calling 303.680.8989 or emailing info@broadwaymd.com.